But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
And you shall tread down the wicked…
Malachi 4:2-3a (ESV)
Have you ever kicked up your heels? I mean like a cheerleader or happy little goats or leaping calves?
A Frisky Sort of Joy
Let’s change that. For God’s sake, this Advent let’s change that.
Surprise your friends like I surprised mine. We were walking to the car after an exquisite dinner out. I never was a cheerleader, except that one month in seventh grade, and I wasn’t sure I could.
But I did. I jumped off the sidewalk, maybe all of six inches, and clapped my heels together. I frolicked and we rejoiced.
If you fear the Lord, that is if you know him as Lord, you really ought to be frisky now and again and frolic like a calf released to a grassy green field from a dark cramped stall on a fresh spring day. Or with a heel clapping freedom you feel as you walk to the car after work on a Friday night before break.
That is the sort of joy the saints have who glory in Christ. And in the span of a verse and a third, we find three reasons for this frisky sort of joy.
3 Reasons to Rejoice
Do you have a leaping joy in you?
If you fear God, you are his treasured possession (Malachi 3:16-17) and you have good reasons to rejoice like a busting-out-of-the-stall calf.
Here are just three:
- The sun of righteousness will rise. Christ is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6, 1 Corinthians 1:30) and Christ is our light (John 8:12). He will do right (Genesis 18:25) and his truth helps us see right.
- It will bring healing in its rays. Christ brings health and peace (Psalm 84:11, Luke 1:78-79). Christ healed on earth and when we see him face to face we will be completely healed (Revelation 21:4).
- In Christ, we tread down the wicked. In Christ we are superconquerors (Rev. 19:14, Romans 8:37). We are set free from sin and slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18, 22). With him we triumph.
There you have it: three reasons for a leaping, frolicking sort of joy.
Advent is a Place of Grace
Remember that joy is not a given. Even, and maybe especially, at Christmas we must work for it. One way we do that is by rehearsing these truths.
I think that’s what Advent is for. It’s a place of grace. A time to tell remind ourselves of what is to come.
Because while the light has dawned on those living in the valley of the shadow of death (Matthew 4:16), there is still this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12).
But the sun of righteousness will rise. So will you please go and kick up your heels?
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”
—Charles Wesley, 1739
Was Malachi anticipating Christmas? Wesley wove his words into one of our favorite carols, but was the prophet thinking of a Messiah who would be born of a woman and bear our sins in his body on the tree?
The short answer is yes and no. Read John Piper’s full explanation here.
This post was originally published at AbigailWallace.com.